Bangladesh: Chittagong Port Trade Facilitation Project
This project performance evaluation report assesses the performance of the Chittagong Port Trade Facilitation Project and highlights the lessons that can be learned from it. The evaluation is intended to be a contribution to a forthcoming review of transport operations of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a sector-wide evaluation study.
The project’s targeted impact of facilitating trade was met through improvements to facilities and the introduction of modern container tracking and management information systems. These have reduced delays for port users, service providers, and consignees. Chittagong Port’s strategic location make it an appropriate alternative to other ports in the region. However, much work still needs to be done before the full potential of Chittagong Port’s gateway function for third-country trade with Bhutan and Nepal can materialize. The project’s envisaged outcome of increased container capacity was achieved. However, the project’s enhanced facilities were not able to accommodate the boom in international trade. Chittagong Port is still beset with lingering congestion problems and the new facilities have not been able to keep abreast with the growing demand for port services. Nonetheless, the project helped Chittagong Port transition from paper-based terminal management to modern electronic terminal operations and document processing. On the whole, the project is assessed successful.
Regarding future operations in Bangladesh, the evaluation recommends that ADB should explore further complementarities between Chittagong Port Authority and the private sector in port operations and related services. Future port development should also include increasing the number and capacity of offdock facilities. Both of these would help raise port productivity and ease port congestion.